Silicon Valley Really Loves Its Pot (Video)

If you thought they like their marijuana dispensaries in Boulder, Colo., Humboldt County and Washington State, wait until you hear about the techies in Silicon Valley: they can't get enough of the green stuff.

It turns out that San Jose, the big city encompassed by the Valley and long known for tech innovation, has become the "medical marijuana capital of the Bay Area."

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, San Jose houses 106 pot clinics, with four being "delivery-only."

This number is four times greater than the quantity of dispensaries in the neighboring community of San Francisco.

San Jose having four times as many pot dispensaries as San Francisco is especially notable considering the latter has 100,000 more residents (926,484) than the former (812,826), according to 2011 census estimates.

The startlingly high (no pun intended) number of dispensaries in San Jose also represents "many more than are necessary to meet the medical needs of our population," says Mayor Chuck Reed.

The glut of marijuana dispensaries in San Jose is formidable even when put up against those in cities like Los Angeles. San Jose has twice as many facilities per square mile as LA.

"We're seeing people from some semiconductors, lots of engineers, lots of programmers," says Ernie Arreola.

Arreola, 38, is the assistant manager of San Jose's Palliative Health Center, where customers can analyze the prices of their favorite marijuana strains on iPads mounted on pedestals in the store. Palliative Health also offers marijuana-infused sodas, muffins, chocolates and classes on cooking with cannabis that take place every month.

Businessweek suggests that Palliative Health Center and other dispensaries being in San Jose makes for easy access, with the town being central to those working long, wrist- and back-breaking hours at such nearby campuses as: Cisco Systems, Google, Adobe Systems, Apple and eBay.

California is one of 18 states that has medical marijuana laws, with a real upswing in the industry instigated by President Obama's 2009 decree that patients with "serious illnesses" would not be prosecuted if they (and their caregiver growers/sellers) abided by state laws. It should be noted that the District of Columbia has medical marijuana laws of its own.

Mark Johnson, 34, is the chief executive officer of San Francisco's Time-Warner-owned Zite and feels that marijuana use is "extremely common" amongst tech workers.

"People just don't care," says Johnson, who admits he smokes pot daily. "If you do, you don't need to hide it; and if you don't, you accept that there are people around you that do."

Although both Cisco and Adobe have policies demanding that employees do not engage in marijuana use during working hours or on company property, neither screens potential hires for drugs.

"The Silicon Valley data support recent news reports citing some employers who say they are having a hard time finding candidates that can pass the preemployment drug test," says Barry Sample, director of science and technology for Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions.

"Pot is an extremely functional drug. Coders can code on it, writers can write on it," says Johnson.

"I see good days ahead for pot."

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